A Lesson Learned in Stuttgart
PROVO, Utah – Jun 06, 2022 – While serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Stuttgart, Germany, Ross Storey was planning on being a graphic designer when he returned home. However, a conversation with a stranger he met on the street led Storey to change his plans, which eventually resulted in him working at the Provo Missionary Training Center (MTC) and teaching as an adjunct professor at the BYU Marriott School of Business.
“I had a special experience with a homeless woman in Germany,” Storey explains. “Something she said resonated inside me. Essentially, she asked me what I was going to be when I got home, and I told her a graphic designer. She said, ‘That’s the wrong profession for you. You love people way too much to be sitting behind a computer screen.’ When she said that, not only was she right, but the Spirit confirmed her statement, which resonated with me deeply.”
After returning from his mission in 2001, Storey knew he was not supposed to pursue graphic design, but he was unsure what to do instead. His transition to a new field was difficult; he had done graphic design since teaching himself how to use Adobe Photoshop at a young age. He bounced around several different majors at BYU, ultimately studying facilities management, a major he chose because he was curious about the vast opportunities in the field.
While finishing his degree, Storey also worked at the MTC as a German language teacher. “I fell in love with the MTC. I loved teaching, creating instruction, and helping missionaries succeed,” he says. While he enjoyed teaching, he wanted to pursue the opportunities he had created in facilities management.
After graduating from BYU in 2007, Storey worked for Hyatt Hotels in its corporate training program. Even though he enjoyed this and other positions, including his time at facilities management company Sodexo, Storey wanted a better work-life balance for his family and a job he was truly passionate about. After much thought and prayer, Storey realized his previous MTC job offered both so he set his sights on finding full-time employment there.
Continuing to chase his dreams, Storey accepted a temporary position at the MTC. He created a new language learning program for missionaries while also attending the BYU Marriott EMPA program. He decided to earn an MPA at BYU Marriott so he could focus on improving his ability to impact missionaries and the school was nearby and affordable. Storey’s willingness to work for the MTC in any capacity paid off when a permanent position opened shortly before his MPA graduation in 2014, which he was able to apply for because he would have an advanced degree by the time the job started. He now develops curriculum focused on experiential learning for missionaries and helps with language programs for senior couples and mission presidents.
Because of his knowledge and passion for experiential learning, Storey began considering sharing his expertise through teaching in addition to his MTC responsibilities. Storey recalls a time he went mountain biking with a few experience design and management (ExDM) faculty members, who he had been friends with for several years. “I was listening to their conversations, and I felt like these were my people,” he explains. “I thought, ‘I would love to associate more with these professors, and it sounds like I would enjoy being around ExDM students.’”
Storey continued to refine his teaching abilities through his MTC role. When the opportunity arose, he applied and was selected to join BYU Marriott’s ExDM program, teaching classes about employee experience and product management. “An important shift is happening toward experiential learning in universities,” Storey says. “I love helping students experience that model of education.”
Through his work at the MTC and BYU Marriott, Storey finds fulfillment every day. At BYU Marriott, he especially enjoys the students he interacts with. “Each individual student has so much potential to do good. If I can do anything to help them on their path, then my effort is worth my time,” Storey says. “My students’ potential is because of their dedication to living a Christ-centered life.”
Media Contact: Chad Little (801) 422-1512
Writer: Mike Miller